Homepage of Philipp Haeuselmann
(Photo by Karoly Tompa)
Swiss Institute for Speleology and Karst Studies
CH-2301 La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
+41 32 913 3533
CH-3323 Baeriswil, Switzerland
+41 77 426 2390
See my CV
See my publication
See my projects
Who am I?
I'm a german-speaking Swiss cititzen from Berne. Already as a kid, I
got interested in nature and its related subjects, so I declared I wanted
to be an "animal researcher". Farming and wood-cutting at my grandparents'
and my Cousin's increased this wish, so I completed all the necessary schools.
By then I came into contact with the world of caves, and at the very last
day of inscription to the University, I decided to try geology instead
of Forestry engineering (wich was closest to the living world). I soon
became aware that the Earth is living, breathing and as fascinating as
any other critter could be - only with timescales that are somewhat different.
So, I never since regretted this choice.
Between 1991 and 1998 I was at the Institute of Geological Sciences
of the University of Berne. In 1997, I finished my diploma in the field
of Mineralogy and Petrology: Evolution and metamorphism of the rocks in
Val Vergeletto (Ticino), under supervision of Martin Engi and Larryn Diamond.
Many people find it strange that I was on the mineralogic side since I
am also a keen caver! But right now, I consider myself as a "Earth scientist"
rather than a Mineralogist or a Sedimentologist. This also has to do with
my PhD: "Cave Genesis and its relationship to surface processes: Investigations
in the Siebenhengste region", a work under supervision of Michel Monbaron
and Pierre-Yves Jeannin. The thesis was carried out 1998-2002 at the University
of Fribourg Switzerland.
Between 2002 and 2003 I was at my PostDoc stay with Darryl Granger at
EAS, Purdue University, USA. Here, I dated the oldest phases of the Siebenhengste
caves with cosmogenic isotopes. Thus, this work was in a certain sense
the continuation of the PhD. The results are excellent, the oldest cave
sediment is 4.4 Ma old!
Then, I was working for the BOKU Vienna (Markus Fiebig), and dated
the classical Bavarian Deckenschotter, the famous Günz and Mindel
glaciations. We planned to do some comprehensive terrace and cave dating
in the Eastern Alps, in Austria and Slovenija, maybe also in Italy. The
aim would be the temporal and spatial reconstruction of the geomorphological
evolution during the last some million years.
Due to different unlucky reasons, my stay in Vienna ended prematurely.
That's why I returned to Switzerland and am now working at the Swiss Institute
for Speleology and Karst Studies. There are a lot of different tasks waiting
for me... and with my spare time (I am currently occupied at 70 %) I continue
my research on cave genesis, datings, and surface evolution.
Since 2007 I am again partly occupied at BOKU Vienna for supervision
of a PhD that was abandoned by the candidate. The project is finished,
the data present, now we have to write papers...
What do (or did) I do?
determining mineral species by X-ray diffraction and Guinier technique
caretaking of the database of the mineralogic section
helping to build up new exhibitions
Electron Microprobe analyses and other research work
Assistant for Fluid Inclusion Studies within the Sedimentary Group
Assistant for various practical lessons for undergraduate students, help
Assistant (sometimes leader) in field courses and excursions
Caving research: The main object are the cave
systems north of Lake Thun.
Genesis of St. Beatus Cave and
Baerenschacht in relation with valley deepening, glaciations and surface
morphogenesis (This was my PhD project). We found that the cave system
north of Lake Thun contains at least eleven distinct speleogenetic phases
that are in connection with ancient valley floors. The work allowed to
better define the six lowest phases, to construct a framework of relative
chronology (erosion-sedimentation cycles) and to date this by U/Th on speleothemes.
The ages obtained for these phases are in good agreement with the known
glacial stratigraphy outside the cave. The end result of the PhD was the
temporal and spatial succession of valley deepening phases and glacial
cycles within the last 400'000 years. Integrated within this PhD is the
understanding of the paleogeographic (Cretaceous to Eocene) and paleotectonic
evolution of the region north of Lake Thun.
dating of the oldest Siebenhengste caves by cosmogenic isotopes. Due to
an important content of undesired elements, I tried to evaluate different
chemical cleaning methods. Now, the chemistry is done, and the samples
are measured! The oldest sediment is 4.4 Ma - thus the PostDoc work was
a great success. The paper is now out - check the February 2007 issue of
preparing papers... :-) and a monography about St. Beatus Cave.
I dated the Günz and Mindel Deckenschotter by burial age determination
with cosmogenic isotopes: a technique that is in development
Date the Granier cave systems (Chartreuse, France) with cosmogenic isotopes.
The question is interesting, but the sediment poor in quartz... The results
are interesting to see if the valley deepening was similar in France and
Switzerland for comparable sites (both Siebenhengste and Chartreuse are
in the Helvetic Border chain, at the rim of the Alps).
Date Grotta Masera (Italy) also by cosmogenic nuclides. The cave is thought
to contain Pliocene sediments. It most probably IS Pliocene.
The project from 2007 onwards was to give help to a PhD project that uses
cosmogenic nuclides to date caves in Austria and Slovenija in order to
date the valley evolution. Parallel to that, I also collaborate with the
Slovenian Academy and the University Babes-Bolyai in Cluj for diploma and
Lectures on Karst and karst geomorphology in University of Vienna, together
with Lukas Plan, since 2009.
mapping caves for several applications
scientific work for conservation purposes and for hydrogeological applications
continue general cave research...
One of the interesting topic is the genesis of watertable caves versus
looping caves: The four state model gives some answers, but it seems that
there are more things still to be discovered. We are working on it...
Past President of the Section of Berne
of the Swiss Speleological Society SSS
Past President of the Scientific Commission of the SSS, member of the Swiss
Academy of Natural Sciences
Chairman, International Union of Speleology
Working Group Topography
& Mapping(UISIC grp)
Responsible for the Electronic Archive of the SSS
Community counselor in Bäriswil,
for water, energy, and infrastructure
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